Fifty Natomas Unified students will receive the California Seal of Biliteracy next month, an increase of 68 percent over last year, with results pending for two additional students. At graduation, honorees will receive a medal and a gold seal on their diploma.
Xitlali Guardado of Inderkum High hopes her proficiency in English and Spanish will help her land a business career in an increasingly global 21st century marketplace.
"With international business, it will help if I'm bilingual, because I can connect with other people," she said recently at a Sacramento County Office of Education Ceremony honoring graduating seniors who speak two or more languages.
Fernando Ruiz of Inderkum wants to enter the Peace Corps, and his ability to speak Spanish will be vital if he's sent to Latin America, he said.
Julisa Cuevas of Natomas High said her biliteracy is likely to help her get into college or get a job -- a retail store, for example, needs employees who can communicate with customers who don't speak English but need help in finding merchandise, she said.
The United States is becoming increasingly diverse, so biliteracy is becoming increasingly important, Julisa noted. In Natomas Unified, for example, statistics show that nearly four dozen languages are spoken - and nearly one of every three students speaks a second language.
NUSD students earned the state seal for proficiency in one or more of eight languages -- Spanish, French, German, Punjabi, Tagalog, Hmong, Russian and Arabic. Six of the students qualified in three languages, including English. Thirty seal recipients attend Natomas High and 20 attend Inderkum, records show. See the list of NUSD winners here.
The state law creating the Seal of Biliteracy took effect in 2012. Its purpose was to affirm the value of diversity, honor multiple cultures, identify students with bilingual skills, promote world language instruction, and to spotlight biliteracy as a key skill in competing for 21st century jobs and careers.